Did you know that actors rarely, if ever, voice their action figures? In fact, at least the earlier versions of Captain America toys are indeed voiced by an Evans, but not Chris Evans. The task of providing those iconic lines to the toys that our kids play with actually belongs to his brother, Scott. With that tidbit out of the way, I can say that the absence of Tim Allen’s voice as Buzz did not at all detract from the story or quality of Lightyear as a whole.
Lightyear serves as the film Toy Story‘s Andy saw that made him want a Buzz Lightyear toy. And you know what? I want a Buzz Lightyear toy now (spoiler, I already have one), so the film certainly lives up to the hype that Andy was so enamored with. With the exception of possibly Brave, this was Pixar’s first foray into creating an action film and they managed to find a good balance of the heart and emotion we expect out of Pixar and a high-octane sci-fi adventure. I cried three times which is pretty on par for others from the studio. But it also didn’t feel like it was made exclusively for kids, either. They knew that the Toy Story fans of old were going to want to head to the theater for some nostalgia, and they delivered on finding a good middle ground for kids and adults alike.
The visuals are exceptional as we travel through space and the details on the people and environment alike are so captivating I’m still floored by the fact its animation. They pulled no punches with this one, creating infinity and beyond in rich colors and enthralling sequences.
Chris Evans is perfect as Buzz, who has a little dramatic flair that I found incredibly endearing and relatable. This is not a flawless character and they are not afraid to show it, which was refreshing as I went in expecting for our favorite Space Ranger to be a practical Boy Scout. He had enough depth to keep my adult expectations met but he was also charming and fun enough to keep my inner kid thoroughly pleased. Not every actor can make the jump to voice work, and that’s fine, but Evans is not one of those actors as he proves he can do both with exceptional finesse. And, shocking to no one, Taika Waititi’s Mo steals every scene he’s in, but it’s Taika Waititi so what do we expect?
Also, be fully prepared to fall head over heels in love with a robot cat. Sox is the main character, sorry to everyone else.
Lightyear premieres exclusively in theaters on Friday, June 17.